Views about God – Theism
There are various ways of seeing God. We’ll call them worldviews. Ways of viewing the world and your place in it in relation to God and what ensues after this life. Last time I post about Atheism, for this article, we’ll talk about Theism
Theism is the belief that there is a God. This can be from monotheism, one God, like Judaism or Islam, to polytheism, many gods, Mormonism, Hinduism. They would say, “Yeah, there’s a difference between creator and creation. The creator made creation. And yeah, God is a judge, he’s holy, righteous, and good, and he judges us. And yeah, when we die we’re going to stand before God and give an account. And we have sinned, so we’re all guilty.” But here’s the difference, there’s no savior. There’s no savior. You have to save yourself, that’s religion. Theism results in religion. Which is pray five times a day; go to Mecca. Obey the moral law, the Jews will tell you. Live a perfect whole life, work really hard to be one of the 144,000, the Jehovah’s Witnesses would tell you. Transition from being a person to being god, attain your divinity, that’s what Mormons would teach you. Or the Eastern religions would say just reincarnate and suffer and suffer and suffer to pay God back. Pay him back. You’ve got to save yourself. You got to do something. God’s not pleased with you. He’s not coming in to help you. He’s not loving and merciful and compassionate and kind. He’s the judge. He’s the distant, far away, furrowed brow, crooked fingered, rule keeper over it all. And you’re going to give an account to him. So do better, try harder, or go to hell. That’s it.
This goes one of two directions: Pride or Despair. That’s where religion always goes. Theism results in religion. It ends up in pride or despair. Religious people who feel like they’re doing a good job, “Hey, I did good things. I’m a good person. God loves me because I’ve earned it.” They’re the worst, most smug, self-righteous, difficult, judgmental, hypocritical people in the world. Religious people are the worst. They murdered Jesus.
My son, he’s ten, he was recently at an event and there was a church there. And the kids all put up signs in the church. And my son was mortified. He came home, he was like, “I can’t believe this sign. I didn’t know if I should tear it down or not Dad, it wasn’t my sign or my church.” I said, “What did it say?” “It said, ‘God loves the good people.’” No, God loves the bad people, because he’s good. God doesn’t love us because we’re good, God loves us because he’s good. That’s the difference between what we believe and religion.
It ends in pride: “I’m a good moral religious person. I know what hat to wear.” Every religion’s got their hat. It’s crazy. You go to the Middle East, oh man, you go to the Holy Land, it’s just like, “Oh, we’re going into a Jewish place, put a hat on. Oh, we’re going into a Christian place, take a hat off.” “Why does that guy got a big hat?” “Oh, he’s a big deal.” “Why does that guy got a little hat?” “Well, he’s a little deal.” “Why does that guy got a red hat?” “Well, I don’t know, cause he’s red.” I don’t know why. [Laughter] “Oh, you got to wear long pants.” “Why?” “It’s a holy place.” “You can’t wear shorts?” “No, you can’t wear shorts.” “Why?” “Because God will see your knees.” “He made the knees, he’s already seen them.”
I don’t get, I don’t get all the, I don’t get all the rules.
I actually went to the place where Jesus fed the 5,000, plus the women and the children. We’ll show you this later. They had a big sign out front, with a piece of bread, and a line through it. You’re not allowed to bring food into the place where Jesus fed the 5,000.
We call that ridiculous religion. But that’s what happens. You just start making rules. And enforcing them, and thinking you’re proud because you keep the goofy rules.
But that’s where theism goes. It goes to goofy, ridiculous religion. People become proud or depressed. Despairing: “Oh man, I tried to do all the stuff and I didn’t do it well, and I forgot to do this and I know I’m supposed to pray this time of day but I forgot. And oh, man.” And they get depressed. And here’s what happens with theism that leads to religion: When you’re hurting, it’s because God’s punishing you. That’s it. See, God in this economy, he’s like an abusive dad: “Oh, you did that. [Cracking sound of fist punching into hand] I’m going to hurt you.” See, the picture of God is like a fist-clenched father. And he’s just looking at your life. He’s not really involved. He doesn’t really love you. He doesn’t really help you. He’s not putting an arm around you. You mess up. [Cracking sound] Boom. You get punched. So, you get cancer, you get hurt, you lose your job, you’re suffering. You come apart emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually. You don’t run to God, you run from God. You don’t cry out to God, you cower from God. Because God is punishing you, he’s hurting you, he’s making you pay. You have to atone for your sin, so just take your beating. Just take your beating.
Some people will be suffering and they don’t even know why. They say, “I don’t know what sin I committed. I don’t know why God is so angry.” “Ah, it was in your past life. You’ve reincarnated. He’s beating you for a past life. You don’t know what it is, but just take your beating. I’m sure you deserved it.”
It’s horrible. See, the truth is, for the Christian, the Bible says God’s our Father, we’ve been adopted into his family; we’re sons and daughters. Is there consequence for sin? Yeah. Proverbs and Hebrews say we have a dad who loves us and he’ll correct us. God’s a dad who comes with his arms open to rescue his wayward children and to correct them, to save them from death. But see, the picture of theism is: You’re on your own. God’s not coming. He could punch you in the mouth at any time. And you’re going to stand before him in the end, so do your best. But you don’t really know how it’s going to go. You could still go to hell after a whole life of trying really hard.